Mega solar power plants may be excessively concentrated
Dec 7,2012 - thefreelibrary.com
TOKYO, Dec. 7 Kyodo
Japan has seen a rapid increase in solar power generation
facilities since the introduction five months ago
of incentives to invest in clean energy, but the
northernmost prefecture Hokkaido faces an excess
of massive-scale solar plants, industry minister
Yukio Edano said Friday.
Solar power facilities, each with more than a 1,000
kilowatt output, that have been approved for operation
by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry totaled
1.8 million kilowatts in capacity as of October nationwide.
Of the total, about 341,000 kilowatts are planned
to be installed in Hokkaido, according to the ministry.
The imbalance apparently emerged because Hokkaido
has vast spaces and its land prices are relatively
cheap, the ministry said.
But the capacity of power transmission lines and
related facilities in Hokkaido is relatively small
and it may be difficult to introduce solar power
generation capacity beyond around 400,000-600,000
At the same time, Hokkaido is a promising area for
wind power generation and the ministry pointed to
the need to leave some room to create facilities
that would generate power with wind.
"Mega solar power systems can be installed
anywhere in the country, and there is sufficient
room to establish it in regions other than Hokkaido," Edano
told a press conference.
Under the feed-in tariff scheme which started in
July, utilities buy all electricity generated from
renewable sources such as solar, wind, water and
geothermal power at preset premiums for up to 20
years, with costs to be passed on to consumers.